Since the 15th century, Zigeuner has been a term for population groups and individuals in the German-speaking world that has been proven to have a majority society and to which a way of life deviating from that of the majority society has been attributed. The etymological origin has not been clearly clarified. The term is attributed to the ancient Greek "Athinganoi" (an agnostic group in Western Anatolia), to the Persian "Cinganch" (musicians, dancers) or "Asinkan" (blacksmiths) or to the ancient Turkish "čïgāń" (poor). "Zigeuner" contains sociological and biologist-racist elements. Sociographically it marks different social and ethnic groups whose way of life is seen as unsteady, deviant and delinquent. In addition to "Zigeuner", this includes various migrating, non-Romanes speaking groups. As an ethnicizing, genetic-biologistic category, "Zigeuner" are exclusively related to Sinti and Roma. The use of the term is problematic because it cannot be detached from the stereotypes it conveys and therefore has a discriminatory effect. Moreover, under National Socialism it was a racist category of persecution and thus a component of the persecution and extermination process.

(c) Karola Fings/Ulrich F. Opfermann 2018